Plagiarism charges a giant waste of time | Inquirer Opinion

Plagiarism charges a giant waste of time

/ 08:52 PM November 19, 2012

With all due respect, I honestly believe those 30 or so complainants who sued Sen. Tito Sotto III for plagiarism are making a mountain out of a molehill.

They call themselves “free thinkers.” No, they are not! For me, they are more of a group that delights in unknowingly displaying their too narrow mental landscapes whenever their egos are hurt. There is reason to believe that the case is just their own desperate way of getting even with Sotto, whose recent privilege speeches have indeed enlightened the public as to why the reproductive health bill was junked by several past Congresses.


In case the bill is once again rejected, it should be due to no one else’s faults but these complainants’. For one, none of them have intelligently challenged Sotto’s arguments so far; for another, their plagiarism case unnecessarily shortens the lawmakers’ already fast diminishing session days before they adjourn for the forthcoming elections.  Indeed, lawyer Romulo Macalintal and the group called Responsible Internet Users for Social Empowerment (Cyber RISE) were correct in saying that there are so many important matters the Senate should more prudently spend the people’s money for, rather than hear an ethics complaint on alleged plagiarism deemed “baseless” from the very outset.

Truly baseless because as far as I humbly know, plagiarism validly exists only when one publicly quotes the ideas or writings of another and passes them as his own.  Let us then be a bit objective. Suppose in a speech or published article one says, “words are like leaves, where they most abound, much fruit of the sense beneath is rarely found,” merely quoting it as a slogan and not acknowledging its original source (Was it Alexander Pope? I’m not really sure!), is there plagiarism?  On the other hand, did not Sotto time and again clarify that the ideas he expressed in his speeches were not his own? It’s really amusing to observe that it has to be the bloggers—eventually followed by certain so-called free-thinking lawyers and academicians kuno—and not really the true authors of the ideas that Sotto had lifted, who are personally filing the plagiarism suit. I hate to say this but I must: The suit as presented virtually fits to a “T” the aforementioned quotation from Pope, doesn’t it?


As things stand, nevertheless, chances are the ethics case against Sotto may yet prosper in Congress. As my gut feel has earlier indicated, the plagiarism case is just the complainants’ last-ditch personal vendetta for all that Sotto said against the RH bill.  It seems they no longer care if their pet bill is passed or not, for as long as Sotto is sanctioned. Not one of them could refute any of Sotto’s arguments anyway. And so, given that the bill’s principal sponsor in the Senate and the chair of the Senate ethics committee to judge Sotto’s fate in due course happen to be siblings, can one plus one amount to anything else but two? Blood is thicker than water—again I know not who had first said it. Am I plagiarizing?


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